On the Exceeding Great Joy which Our Lord’s Ascension Caused.
PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.
My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.
On the Exceeding Great Joy which Our Lord’s Ascension Caused.
To-day recall once more to your mind and represent to yourself the awful sadness, anguish, and sorrow which once overwhelmed our oppressed Lord and His disciples on the Mount of Olives. In commencing your meditation immerse yourself once more in that ocean of bitterness, transport yourself in imagination to Mount Olivet and review the sad events of that mournful, gloomy night on which our Lord’s Passion began, in order that by contrast you may be enabled to recognize more clearly and appreciate more fully the sweetness of the joy wherewith the hearts of all overflowed who were present on the Mount of Olives on the occasion of our Lord’s Ascension.
1st. Consider the happiness, the joy of the just souls who went up into Heaven with our Lord. How gladly they must have quitted the prison where they had been detained for a thousand years! how their joy must have increased in degree and become exultant rapture as they drew nearer and nearer to their celestial habitation, and all its brilliance and beauty burst on their delighted sight! Theirs was the joy of the exile who after long years of weary banishment returns to his beloved country and the parental roof, endeared to him by fond reminiscences. Then the words of the Royal Prophet were truly fulfilled, words which those happy souls might well make their own: “God is ascended with jubilee and the Lord with the sound of a trumpet. Sing praises to our King, sing ye, for He hath chosen for us His inheritance.” (Ps. xlvi. 6.) Join in spirit that jubilant company of just souls, in order that you may on this day partake in some measure of the joy and consolation that was their portion.
2d. Consider the joy of the holy angels. Without doubt these celestial spirits in countless hosts accompanied their King rejoicing and exultant, magnifying with wondrous songs of praise His triumphant, victorious entry into Heaven. And when the glorious cortege approached the celestial portals, may we not fancy them shouting in the prophetic words of the Psalmist: “Lift up your gates, O ye princes, and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates, and the King of glory shall enter in.” And those who were within answered, they too re-echoing David’s words: “Who is this King of glory who seeks to enter our gates?” And the angelic escort are heard to reply: “The Lord who is strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle; the Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory.” (Ps. xxiii. 7, 10.) Thus the Lord entered the Heaven He had left, while the celestial choirs sang a new canticle: “The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and benediction for ever.” (Ap. v. 12.) This entry into the heavenly Jerusalem was very different, far more solemn and sublime than our Lord’s triumphal entry into the earthly Jerusalem, and His triumph was not short-lived, as it was then, but for all eternity.
3d. Consider the joy which the God-man Himself experienced on the occasion of His Ascension. When He entered into the earthly Jerusalem He wept over the ill-fated city, but now on His returning to the heavenly Sion, the prophecy of David that He would ascend with jubilee and shouts of exultation was strictly fulfilled. May one not imagine the Saviour saying with holy delight to the choirs of celestial spirits: “Rejoice with Me, for I have found the sheep that was lost. Rejoice with Me because the groat that was lost is found again, the unhappy human race has been redeemed.” His was the joy of the good shepherd who has recovered the wandering sheep; the joy of the laborer in the vineyard who receives the wage for which he has worked, the joy of the faithful servant who has gained ten talents. Do you, my soul, share in this joy of your Lord? What are in general the feelings you experience in contemplating joys so transcendental, in meditating upon subjects which raise the mind far above this earth? “Dost thou perceive,” we quote the beautiful words of the Imitation, “a yearning after eternal bliss poured into thee from above, and that thou longest to go out from the tabernacle of the body that thou mayst behold the glory of God without any shadow of change?” or does all this leave you cold and unconcerned, do you still cleave to the pavement of earth? Ask yourself this question, and ponder this other saying of the same writer: “If I love Heaven, I willingly think on heavenly things. If I love the world, I rejoice with the prosperity of the world. If I love the flesh, I often picture to myself carnal things. If I love the spirit, I delight to think of spiritual things” (Imit. B. iii. ch. 49, 48.)
PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.
My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.
May Devotion: The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtues to practice: Meekness, purity, the spirit of poverty
O holy Mary, my Mistress, into thy blessed trust and special keeping, into the bosom of thy tender mercy, this day, every day of my life and at the hour of my death, I commend my soul and body; to thee I entrust all my hopes and consolations, all my trials and miseries, my life and the end of my life, that through thy most holy intercession and thy merits, all my actions may be ordered and disposed according to thy will and that of thy divine Son. Amen. (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins and Mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful; O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
(For either of the above prayers: An indulgence of 3 years.
A plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily recitation of this prayer.)
The faithful who during the month of May take part in public exercises in honor of the B.V.M. may gain: An indulgence of 7 years on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence if they assist at the exercises on at least 10 days, and moreover, go to confession, receive Holy Communion, and pray for the Holy Father’s intentions.
Those who perform their devotions privately during the aforesaid month are granted: an indulgence of 5 years once on any day of the month; a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if they perform these devotions every day during the month; but where public exercises are held, this indulgence is granted only to those who are lawfully hindered from taking part in the same. (Raccolta).
Prayer to the Holy Ghost.
O HOLY SPIRIT, divine spirit of light and love, I consecrate to Thee my understanding, heart and will, my whole being for time and for eternity. May my understanding be always submissive to Thy heavenly inspirations, and to the teaching of the Catholic Church, of which Thou art the infallible Guide; may my heart be ever inflamed with love of God and of my neighbour; may my will be ever conformed to the divine will, and may my whole life be a faithful imitation of the life and virtues of our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, to whom with the FATHER and Thee be honour and glory for ever. Amen.
300 Days, once a day.
Pius X, June 5, 1908.
Novena for Pentecost.
i. Seven Years and Seven Quarantines, each day.
ii. Plenary, once during the Novena, Feast or Octave.
This Novena may be made publicly or privately, and the same Indulgences are granted for special prayers said every day during the Octave. Any prayers to the HOLY GHOST may be used.
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